Stand-up comedian Chokoleit was clearly emotional when he was asked about showbiz columnist Cristy Fermin in an exclusive interview with PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal), at the fourth Star Magic Ball held yesterday, September 5, at the Rizal Ballroom of Shangri-La Makati. Cristy filed lawsuits against Chokoleit last August 31.
"Until she is asking for it, then I'll give it. I'll give what she's due. I'm just giving her the dose of her own medicine. 'Kung ayaw mong tumigil, e, di hindi na din ako titigil.' Ganun lang," Chokoleit said to explain his position towards Cristy.
The rift between the two surfaced in late August, when Cristy filed "unjust vexation" and "libel" cases against Chokoleit, after the stand-up comedian allegedly cursed the veteran columnist on his Twitter account. (CLICK HERE to read related story.)
For his part, Chokoleit said that his tweets were a justified reaction to the accumulation of hits against him in Cristy's columns. He added that he acted responsibly and that he knew the repercussions of his moves.
MEAN ACT. Chokoleit admitted that the final straw for him was when Cristy picked up material from YouTube that, he fumed, denigrated him and Pokwang. Apparently, Cristy used the material in the TV5 show Juicy, where Cristy sits as the veteran host.
Chokoleit is a close friend of Pokwang, who has also reportedly been the object of negative remarks in Cristy's columns. Pokwang is said to have gotten on Cristy's wrong side after the comedienne-host had a tussle with Willie Revillame, Cristy's friend and ally.
"It all started, like, when she picked that up," Chokoleit said, referring to the offensive YouTube material. "Hindi naman ako, e. Nanahimik naman ako, e. Marunong naman akong rumespeto."
Continuing his explanation, he said, "Dun ako nairita, sa thought na pinick-up n'yo pa yung YouTube thing na '20 Ugliest,' which I was No. 2, No. 1 si Pokwang.
"Nag-comment ako na, 'Nahiya naman ako na ikaw yung nag-report, na para bang— maganda ka ba?' Para bang, 'Mean na nga yung material, pinik-up n'yo pa? Ang mean-mean ninyo.'"
Defending Pokwang, Chokoleit said: "Kasi si Pokwang, nanay 'yan, e. Anong sasabihin sa mga, kunwari, 'Ay, yung nanay mo...,' ng anak niya. Ako rin, na para bang sana pinabayaan na lang ninyo yun."
Chokoleit speculated that the tweet which might have irked Cristy could be his Twitter post after Cristy utilized the YouTube material for her show. In his post, Chokoleit said Cristy should have taken top honors, not Pokwang.
"Dun, I believe, napikon siya. Sinabi kong, 'Buti hindi mo kinuwestiyon si Pokwang na dun, siya ang No. 1—dapat ikaw!' Yun bang nag-retaliate lang ako."
NO APOLOGIES. Answering Cristy's comment that his tweets were too much ("Hindi makain," Cristy said), Chokoleit said, "That's because, that much says kung sino siya."
To Cristy, Chokoleit had this to say: "'O, ngayon mo naramdaman ang nararamdaman namin noon pa. E, ganoon, alin doon specifically, alin dun? Wala kang masabi, kasi alin dun? Wala, kasi binabalik ko lang sa iyo kung ano sinasabi mo.
"'Pero, I won't be sorry, really. Bakit ako magso-sorry, e—mag-sorry ka rin. Puwede, mag-sorry ka rin?'"
The veteran stand-up talent said that he stood by what he tweeted, and would not apologize even if Cristy had earlier said, in her showbiz talk show Paparazzi, that she could forgive him if he apologized.
"No, bakit ako magso-sorry?" Chokoleit responded, sounding both angry and hurt. "For the longest time, grabe ang tira niya sa akin. She had it coming, parang sobra na yun. I know it is part of the job, may pitik- pitik, pero sumobra na!
"'You should have [thought] of, like, nasaktan ka pala? Sana inisip mo din na nasasaktan din kami... ' Ayaw ko yung, dahil nag-start lang sa away namin, away na din ni Pokwang. She [Cristy] has an ax to grind."
Chokoleit stressed that this was not just a feud between Cristy and Pokwang. This was also a matter affecting Cristy and him directly.
"Meron din kaming sariling isyu," he said. "Sana naisip niya na breadwinner ako ng pamilya, na ang brother ko, ang sister ko, cannot bear yung mga nagbu-bully sa kanila.
"Nasobrahan na. Mas ano sa akin...yung adik ako, mabaho ako... Sa tingin mo that would not jeopardize my work? Sino bang pag-iinteresan [na artist] nang ganun?
"Sabihin mo blind item 'yan. Yes, I can understand others, pero sa iyo, abuso na! Given na given. Kung hindi ako 'yong [blind item], e, di sino 'yon? Kung hindi ako 'yon, di hindi din ikaw 'yon."
He admitted that his comments about Cristy have their roots in the past, when the veteran entertainment columnist allegedly made him a target of ridicule in her columns.
"Para bang nanahimik ako, wala na akong nanay. I've been through a lot. Masakit yung nangyari sa akin.
"Ginawa mo 'yan during the time na sariwa pa yung sakit ko, na nawalan ako ng nanay, nasunugan kami, na-Ondoy ako. Para bang starlet ako. Spare me!
"Para bang, if the big stars can afford that, I cannot, because magkano lang naman ang kinikita ko?"
LIBEL CASE. Chokoleit also disclosed that he is filing a separate libel case against Cristy, and that he is determined to pursue the case because he stands on just ground.
"Yes, my work is at stake. Para bang sumosobra. I gathered enough tabloids [as evidence]. Nandun, e," he told PEP.
"Para bang ang Twitter, pag tiningnan mo yung page, merong 'the page doesn't exist.' That says it all. 'Yung sinasabi mo, asan diyan, hanapin mo,'" he said, in demanding that Cristy name what she found offensive in his tweets.
Chokoleit also showed PEP a text message from his lawyer, Atty. Allan Morante: "Kasama daw sa file nila [Cristy's camp] ang... paghingi ng gag order against you. At admitted by her lawyer, Twitter is a new venue of expression.
"So this will be a test case, while importantly, there is no such thing as Internet libel. Under the law on libel, Internet is not included as medium of committing libel.
"In fact, she is the one liable for libel since she maligned you in print and on TV. Those are the mediums provided under the law on libel, di ba? We will file a libel case against her. We are waiting for the subpoena to come."
For his part, Chokoleit added, "Ako naman, may pinanggalingan naman ito, hindi naman ako basta-basta magsasabi nang walang pinanggalingan."
Addressing Cristy, he continued, "'So, ikaw? Sana sinabi mo din iyan sa column mo. Sumosobra ka din sa ginagawa mong pang-aabuso sa ano mang meron ka sa pagsusulat mo sa column mo, na nagiging legit.'"
According to Chokoleit, he has the full support of his family. He said they understood that he felt aggrieved and abused, and told him: "Whatever you think is right...do the right thing. "